Temporarily put aside what Ghulam Nabi Azad is saying. First of all we have to ask this fundamental question, why do we need to worry about the state of Congress? Does this party really matter anymore? Yes, so why? What is its utility? Congress has not won a single election since the winter of 2018. In Kerala, the Congress awarded the second consecutive term to the Left parties. Congress further declined in West Bengal. She failed to regain Haryana and Manipur and her stronghold in Punjab collapsed. If it wants to survive this political suicide, the Congress leadership will have to work hard.
The party openly defied the then Chief Minister of Punjab, Amarinder Singh. Now he is a partner of BJP. Congress liked comedian Navjot Singh Sidhu’s jokes so much that the party appointed him as its state president. Now he is serving imprisonment.. After the election defeat he (Charanjit Singh Channi) did not appear in any public event. The reason for talking so much about Punjab is that three things stand out from it. For one thing, an inefficiency can only occur when you have inherited power, which makes you certain that no one can hold you accountable for anything. secondly when personal preferences and prejudices are more important than party interests and thirdly when there is no need to make amends or regain lost base. It came to pass that if I had done the work of demolishing my house with my own hands, why should I even bother to go to the ruined place? The result was that no one questioned the leadership. Those who raise questions come out and while coming out they are defamed by their previous close confidants..
Now let us come back to the original question where is the party (Congress)? There is power in two states. The chief minister of that place thinks every night while sleeping that no one is listening to the party leaders! When we consider the future of Congress, its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, the situation looks bleaker than before. The party has won only one victory in the last decade. Congress is playing a race to reach the political base. In this background, admirers of Nehru recall some lines of poet Kaifi Azmi. These are the lines from the 1961 Dharmendra starrer Shola Aur Shabnam. They write,
Jaane kya dhundhati rahta hain ye eyes muz mein rakh ke dher mein shola hai na chingari hai…!
If the ‘Gandhis’ want to see honestly what is left of their party, they have to look at the funds raised by Rahul Gandhi for his padayatra. The donors of this fund are from the country’s leading NGOs and civil society. They are all decent gentlemen. But, none of them are capable of contesting the elections and at least saving their deposit money or even gathering a crowd of a few thousand.
Congress’ glorious past is their problem. This party was dominating the politics for such a long time. This makes it difficult for him to accept the reality of the present and the possibilities of the future. Congress established its new politics after 1971. In these 50 years, it was seen that the personal power of the leaders was eroded and everyone would depend on the Gandhi family. The last time this work was done in 1984. How long can you hold on to just memories? By Gandhi
There is a discussion on how long he held the post of president of the party uninterruptedly. Since 1998, Sonia Gandhi has served in this post for 22 consecutive years, while Rahul has served for two years. Twenty-four years is enough time to take stock of your successes and failures. After wresting power from Vajpayee Advani in 2004, it can be said that he kept the party in power for a full decade. The 2004 victory turned out to be the worst for the Congress. We can also say that this made the leaders lazy. But, more importantly, the wrong steps were taken instead of self-examination and a vision of returning to power.
One is that it was voted India Declining by the people against BJP’s ‘India Shining’. Also, one of the reasons for BJP’s defeat was that many of its allies rebelled against it. Also, the Gujarat riots of 2002 also had an impact. Congress’s false socialist nostalgia undermined important political issues for years to come. Hence, the ideological and political direction of the party began to fade. From the 1980s, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and Narasimha Rao steered India away from the old, so-called socialist path and pink economics. It was precisely on these issues that the party continued to struggle with its own government. I have said this time and again that the Congress is suffering from such a disease now. That Congress is currently suffering from a disease in which the body begins to eat itself. If the 2004 lottery had not happened, so much ego would not have grown and a more capable, sustainable polity could have been built for the future.